You hear the doctor tell you, “Your son has been diagnosed with cancer.” From that moment forward it changed the Morrison’s lives forever. Kellen Morrison was diagnosed with stage four Burkitt's Lymphoma on November 18, 2014. They first started noticing something was wrong when Julie noticed he had begun to talk funny. At first they thought it was his allergies so they gave him allergy medicine. When that didn’t help, they thought it was a sinus infection and they tried treating it with an antibiotic. They continued giving him the antibiotic until they noticed that Kellen was having trouble breathing.
The next morning Julie took Kellen to the doctors office. They thought it could be his adenoids, so he was referred to an ENT. When the ENT told Kellen to stick out his tongue, The ENT could see the tumor in Kellen’s throat. The following day, November 18th, the tumor was removed. The doctors tested the tumor and when the test results came back, Julie and Kelly knew that it was going to be a hard process, but they were going to try their best for Kellen.
According to the doctors, Burkitt's Lymphoma is very uncommon; it usually only affects kids. Once they found out Kellen was diagnosed with cancer they started Chemotherapy right away. Kellen had to go through all four rounds of Chemo. His first round of Chemo started on November 20th , and it ended on December 2nd. Kellen’s treatments were estimated to be about 6 months long, but it could have been more or less depending on if he stayed healthy.
During this whole process Kellen didn’t really know how sick he actually was. Julie and Kelly were a little frightened by the idea of telling their 7 year old little boy that he was very sick and will be at the hospital a lot. Julie said that Kellen took the news very well, he and wanted to get better as soon as possible. They talked to Kellen and told him that they were going to make him feel better, and that they were going to kill all of the bad cells in his body. Kellen was a little afraid of the battle, but he had his friends and family to help him through it. Kellen knew that cancer was going to make him lose his hair but he wanted to get better, so he knew what he had to do. Kellen shaved his head before all of his hair fell out. The doctors told him that it would grow back, but it might be a different color or it could be curly. Kellen knew one thing for sure; he did not want curly hair! Kellen thought that he looked funny, so Kelly, his dad, shaved his head so that Kellen wouldn't feel alone.
While Kellen was fighting cancer at the same time as his teacher was. She came to visit him in the hospital, and she gave him a Minecraft sword. She told him that she had one too. She also told him that they were going to fight cancer together. Kellen had gotten lots of toys and electronics because he had to be in the hospital a lot. His favorite gift was from the school. They had given him an iPad, so he could facetime and be in class with his friends. Most of all Kellen liked playing games on it more that anything else. Kellen loved his video games, so when his big brother, Kolby, came to the hospital he brought their Wii and all of their other gaming devices and all of Kellen’s favorite games, which definitely included Minecraft.
Kellen had loved one nurse and he disliked another one very much. Kellen had a fear of band-aids and when he had to get a shot while he was sleeping one nurse put a band aid on it but little did she know that Kellen had hated band aids and when he woke up he was not going to be very happy. Kellen was becoming more and more weak because of the Chemotherapy. To keep Kellen moving and out of the room and playing his video games the doctors and nurses let him play with the hospital dog, and that was one of his favorite things to do. The dog kept Kellen moving and exercising without Kellen even knowing it. Other days Kellen took tours of the hospital to keep moving instead of him becoming weaker. Kellen met lots of new people at the hospital. Kellen could tell that he was becoming more fragile, but he knew he was going to get better. Over time Kellen was not getting better; he was getting worse. Kylie, his older sister, was very sad, and she did not like seeing Kellen sick. Kellen had always loved coming to the basketball tournaments with Kylie, and he always wanted to play hide-and-seek with us in the hotel. Kylie invited us all to come see him before one of our practices.
Seeing Kellen was a sad time. He did not look like the energetic, funny, and little dancer that I remembered. Before going into the room we had to get masks and use hand sanitizer. When I walked into the room Kellen did not look like the same little guy that I remembered. He had looked very weak. He was very tired because of all the medicine that he had to take. We talked to him, and hearing his voice was just enough to make us all cry. He could barely talk. It was just a little louder than a whisper. We loved Kellen and it was very hard seeing him like that.
Kellen was not doing very well, and he had to be flown to Seattle for a stem cell transplant. Kellen was a little scared at this point in time. Kellen was scared, but a little excited to go on a plane because he had never been on one. The whole family went on the plane to Seattle as soon as they could. They could only do the transplant if his T-cells were up to count, but at that point in time they were very low, so for the next week they continued with Chemo-therapy, but Kellen was not getting any better. They tried to see if the stem cell transplant would work one more time before they knew there was nothing else they could do. They told Julie that his counts were to low to do anything, and then Julie knew what this meant.
They got Kellen back to Children's Hospital in Omaha, and by the next few days they were letting Kellen go home. When they arrived back home they had signs everywhere in their yard for Kellen. Then when they pulled into the garage they saw a brand new golf cart with Kellen’s name on it! Kellen was super excited, and he wanted to drive it. Before he was even in the house he started driving it with Kolby and Kylie. He had loved that he got to go home, and he didn't know why he got to go home. Kellen’s Make-a-Wish was to swim with the dolphins, so Julie and Kelly bought a pool and were getting it set up for Kellen and put blow up dolphins in the pool. Once they got it all set up for Kellen to swim in that night. They had to take him in before he got to swim.
A few hours later Julie had noticed that Kellen was not breathing very well. Julie went to call for help, but her phone started playing a song, the song was called “The Best Day of My Life”. If anyone knew Julie she is not very good with phones and she didn’t even know how the song started playing or even how it got on her phone. Julie was freaking out trying to get the phone to stop playing, but then finally Kelly just said to let it play and once the song was over Kellen stopped breathing. They were devastated to see Kellen pass, but they thought this song was a message from Kellen telling them that he was going to be alright. It was devastating news to hear, but he is in a better place and now. Kellen passed away on May 6th, 2015 when he was 8 years old. This news can change a family's life forever.